Off the Record

Greta: Is punishment for kids acting like stupid kids too harsh today?

'Off the Record,' 10/30/14: Should we lighten up on kids who do the stupid things that kids do?


By Greta Van Susteren

Let's all go "Off the Record" for a minute. Should we lighten up on kids? Of course, vandalism is wrong, it's against the law. Cheating in school, that's wrong, too. I wonder if the punishment these days for children acting stupid like children do can be too harsh?

I read about kids getting caught cheating and getting thrown out of school. That's an academic death penalty. If the kid gets picked up for minor vandalism -- more like a prank -- he gets tossed into juvenile court system. Juvenile court will certainly change your life and not in a good way.

Now, when I was a little kid and got caught cheating -- and don't tell me if you never did -- or if did you the unthinkable, minor vandalism, and I mean minor, like a prank, you get a different punishment. You got dragged home to your parents and they took care of it and that could be hellish. You didn't get tossed into the juvenile cellblock.

So, on the 50th anniversary of my getting picked up by the police in Appleton, Wisconsin for soaping windows -- yes, I was a little kid and very stupid kid at that -- it was enough to catch hell from my parents. And I think I turned out OK. Certainly, not perfectly, but OK.

By the way, I was not the only culprit that night. That's my "Off the Record" comment tonight.